• Hong Kong democracy activist group led by Joshua Wong disbands
    HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters): A pro-democracy group led by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong disbanded on Tuesday, hours after China's parliament passed national security legislation for the Chinese-ruled city that has stoked fears for its freedoms.   Beijing's swift imposition of the law and a lack of transparency over its details have alarmed some diplomats, business leaders and activists who say it is the latest example of China's tightening grip over the fo
  • China study warns of possible new 'pandemic virus' from pigs
    SHANGHAI, June 30 (Reuters): A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential "pandemic virus", a study said, although experts said there is no imminent threat.   A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a "G4" strain of H1N1 that has "all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus",
  • China passes national security law in turning point for Hong Kong
    HONG KONG/BEIJING, June 30 (Reuters): China's parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.   Details of the law - which comes in response to last year's often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces - were
  • Global COVID-19 death toll cross 5mn: Johns Hopkins University
    Washington, June 30 (IANS) The global death toll due to COVID-19 crossed 5 million mark on Monday, as the total number of cases crossed the 10 million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University.   Currently, the total number of cases increased to 10,199,798, while the fatalities increased to 502,947, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.   The US accounted for the world's highest number of in
  • WHO warns 'the worst is yet to come'
    Geneva, June 30 (IANS) The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not even close to being over.   It has now been six months since the first cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness were reported in Wuhan, China.   At the time it was feared that we would see a repeat of the Sars outbreak of 2002 to 2004, which killed 774 people.   Now, with more than 500,000 people dead and more than 10 million confirmed ca
  • Obama slams Trump's "kung flu" language
    Washington, June 30 (IANS) Former US President Barack Obama has slammed his successor Donald Trump who tries to promote anti-Asian sentiment by using racist language "kung flu" to call the coronavirus during campaign rallies, US media reported.   "I don't want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it's funny. I don't want that. That still shocks and pisses me off," O
  • Generation Putin comes of age as Russians vote on extending his rule
    MOSCOW, June 29 (Reuters): Twenty-year-old Russians Yekaterina Mikhailova and Iya Barsegyan have only ever known life under President Vladimir Putin who rose to power in 1999, before they were even born.   The pair may be of the same generation, but politically they are worlds apart, a contrast that shows how the divisions created by Putin's politics could last for years.   This week, Russians are taking part in a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms
  • Pandemic 'is not even close to being over', WHO chief says
    GENEVA, June 29 (Reuters): The COVID-19 pandemic is not even close to being over, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday.   Tedros noted that, six months after China first alerted the WHO to a novel respiratory infection, the grim milestones of 10 million confirmed infections and 500,000 deaths had been reached.   "Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move," he said. &n
  • Trauma, abuse for Thai elephants taught tricks for tourists, charity says
    BANGKOK, June 29 (Reuters): Undercover video obtained for an investigation into alleged animal cruelty shows baby elephants in Thailand taken from their mothers then exposed to abusive training methods to perform tricks for tourists, according to a wildlife charity.   World Animal Protection has released footage filmed secretly at several camps at undisclosed locations between December 2018 and January 2020, showing distressed mothers and babies pulled apart, and the yo
  • 'A recipe for disaster,' U.S. health official says of Americans ignoring coronavirus advice
    WASHINGTON, June 29 Reuters): A spike in U.S. coronavirus infections is fueled in large part by people ignoring public health guidelines to keep their distance and wear masks, the government's top infectious disease official said.   A daily surge in confirmed cases has been most pronounced in southern and western states that did not follow health officials' recommendations to wait for a steady decline in infections for two weeks before reopening their economies.
  • South Pole warmed three times the global rate in last 30 years - study
    BUENOS AIRES, June 29 (Reuters): At the South Pole, considered the coldest point on Earth, temperatures are rising fast.   So fast, in fact, that Kyle Clem and other climate researchers began to worry and wonder whether human-driven climate change was playing a bigger role than expected in Antarctica.   Temperature data shows that the desolate region has warmed at three times the global warming rate over the last three decades up through 2018, the South Pole&
  • Saudi, U.S. officials call for extending U.N. arms embargo on Iran
    RIYADH, June 29 (Reuters): Saudi and U.S. officials on Monday urged the global community to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran, saying that failing to do so would allow Tehran to further arm its proxies and destabilise the Middle East.   The arms curbs on Iran are due to expire in October under the terms of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.N. Security Council will decide on the matter and veto-powers Russia and China have signalled they oppose rei
  • Fighting in Taiwan parliament after opposition occupies chamber
    TAIPEI, June 29 (Reuters): Fighting erupted in Taiwan's parliament on Monday as lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) broke through barricades erected by the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) who had occupied it to protest against government "tyranny".   Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not uncommon.   More than 20 KMT lawmakers occupied the legislature overnight
  • 'On our knees': Kenya's tourism revenue collapses
    NAIROBI, June 29 (Reuters): Kenya has lost 80 billion shillings ($752 million) so far in tourism revenue, about half of last year's total, due to the coronavirus crisis, its tourism minister said on Monday.   The sector is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange, earning 163.56 billion shillings ($1.54 billion) last year, which had been expected to grow 1% in 2020.   Tourism Minister Najib Balala said things would get worse before they can improve.
  • Seven die as 'separatist' gunmen attack Pakistan Stock Exchange
    KARACHI, Pakistan, June 29 (Reuters): Gunmen armed with grenades attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the city of Karachi on Monday in a bid to take hostages, killing two guards and a policeman before security forces killed all four of the attackers, security officials said.   Separatist insurgents from the troubled southwestern province of Balochistan claimed responsibility, a senior counter-terrorism official, Raja Umar Khattab, told Reuters.   The Baloc
  • Iran prosecutor says human error led to shooting down of Ukrainian airliner
    Reuters   The shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran in January was due to human error and not an order from senior military authorities, the military prosecutor for Tehran province, Gholam Abbas Torki, said on Monday, Tasnim news agency reported.   There was no indication that the downing of the airliner, which killed all 176 people aboard, was due to a cyber attack on Iran's missile or air defence systems, Torki said, adding that three people were und
  • Scores of children killed in Philippines' war on drugs - report
    GENEVA(Reuters) - At least 129 children have been killed in the Philippines' four-year war on drugs, most by police or allied assailants, but they may only represent a fraction of the toll, activist groups said on Monday.   Minors have been directly targeted, punished as proxies, or victims of mistaken identity or "collateral damage", they said in a report, "How could they do this to my child?".   The World Organisation against Torture (OMC
  • Blast kills at least 23 at cattle market in southern Afghanistan
    KABUL, June 29 (Reuters): At least 23 civilians were killed in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province and dozens were wounded when rockets hit a cattle market on Monday, Afghan government and Taliban officials said.   The warring sides blamed each other for the attack on the open-air weekly cattle market in Sangin district, where hundreds of villagers from neighbouring districts had gathered to trade sheep and goats.   A spokesman for Helmand's gover
  • Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over killing of top general - Fars news
    Reuters   Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday, according to the Fars news agency.   The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias o
  • Former French PM Fillon embezzled public funds, court rules
    PARIS, June 29 (Reuters): A French court on Monday found former Prime Minister Francois Fillon guilty of embezzlement of public funds in a fake jobs scandal that wrecked his 2017 run for president and opened the Elysee Palace door for Emmanuel Macron.   Fillon's bid for the presidency unravelled after allegations surfaced that he had paid his British-born wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros for doing little, if any, work as his parliamentary assistant. &